10 Dates To Take Yourself On, Because Whether You're Single Or In A Relationship, You Need To Start "Masturdating"

I just learned a new word: Masturdation. Like its source word, masturdating is something you do by yourself. But the difference is that you can masturdate in public. You can masturdate all over the place. You can take yourself on a masturdate anywhere you damn well please. Yup, a masturdate is just a date — with yourself.

When I told someone about this concept, he said, "Wouldn't that be an autodate?" Well, yes. I mean, etymologically speaking, that would make sense. But it doesn't have quite the same ring to it. So — masturdation it is.

I started taking myself on dates in my early twenties. It felt rebellious, almost subversive: I'd waltz to the movie theater, buy a ticket, and watch a film by myself. I'd take myself out to sushi. I'd have a long walk home. I thought these dates might feel strange, or even a little lonely. But quite the opposite was true: I loved sitting in a dark theater watching a sad old film and having a cathartic experience solo. An autocatharsis.

Whether you have also been masturdating since the aughts or feel super trepidatious about the whole idea, here are 10 masturdation ideas to give a spin. Anything you'd invite someone else to do with you is fair game. Like masturbation, it's important to do even if you're in a relationship. Also like masturbation, you'll probably have a great time!

1. See a movie that no one else wants to see with you.

Sometimes there's no accounting for taste, including our own. You can totally see anything by yourself, but there's a certain relish in taking yourself to a film that is too romantic or too scary or too subtitle-y for your friends or boyfriend or whatever.

2. Hit your favorite restaurant — and ask for a table.

Don't just sit at the bar, unless that's your favorite place to sit at a restaurant and you would do that even if you were on a date. Ask for a table, and don't take it personally if the host or waiter asks if you're waiting for someone. Masturdating is all about confidence. It can be really nice to bring a book along, but I'd also challenge you to go it truly alone — without a date, a book, or (gasp) even a cell phone. Savor your food. And your solitude.

3. Read a book in the park.

This is one of my favorite things to do in the world, whether it be on a masturdate or, you know, a date-date. Since masturdation is all about pampering yourself, bring a soft blanket, a bottle of sparkling water, fresh fruit — and plenty of sunscreen. Make an afternoon of lolling in the grass with a book.

4. Take in a ballet, an opera, a play, or some other performance.

Buy a nice ticket in the orchestra, put on something sharp, and head out for a night on the town.

5. Brew a cup of tea and park it at the table or on the roof, terrace, stoop, porch or backyard.

Asking someone if I could make them a cup of tea at the end of a date used to be my way of letting them I know I wanted to keep hanging out. Instead, at the end of a long day (or even a long date), make a tea for yourself. This is a nice post-date masturdation session. And then you can have a post-masturdation masturbation session. Just sayin'.

6. Attend a yoga or Pilates class, go running or do another form of exercise.

Technically, every time you work out unchaperoned, you're masturdating. But to make it a true masturdate, make it special — take your favorite hour-and-a-half yoga class with a meditation at the end, go to the woods for a long run or hike, or go horseback riding.

7. Take a class.

Audit a college course, or go to a class in screenwriting or knitting or cooking or whatever you've always wanted to learn. It might be daunting, but if you go unescorted, you know you'll really pay attention. Plus, maybe you'll make a new friend.

8. Beach day!

Or if you're in a landlocked state, lake day or pool day. Slather on the SPF, shimmy into your favorite suit and hit the waves for a long afternoon of one's own.

9. Two words: Companionless breakfast.

I'm lucky if I manage a yogurt and a cup of coffee before work, much less a full breakfast. I usually want to punch the guy sucking down an iced coffee in the face because he got it together to secure such a lofty possession before bounding to the subway platform. But how nice would it be to get up early and have a full breakfast at your favorite neighborhood cafe before work? You could do it on the weekend too, but that's more pedestrian. For a truly masturdatory experience, try a pre-work brekkie to kick off your day.

10. Go out dancing.

This is only for the advanced masturdater. I can't say I've ever done this, though I have gone on some solo dance floor expeditions, in which I leave the fold and seek other pastures for some independent dancing. That's really fun. And this is all about pleasure. If you don't enjoy masturdating, don't do it. But I think you just might.

Images: lauren rushing/Flickr; Giphy